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Cargill takes some steps, talking
Amanda ONeill poses with her brother Nick Cargill in his hospital room on Sunday. He had opened his eyes for the first time last week after being in a coma for some seven days following a horrific crash shortly early New Years morning. - photo by Photo Contributed

Iraq combat veteran Nick Cargill was out of bed Sunday.

And with the aid of a nurse and a walker he was able to take a few steps following life-saving brain surgery a week ago, according to his family.

The badly injured Manteca soldier is recovering rapidly from his New Year’s morning near-fatal crash allegedly caused by a drunken driver, having first opened his eyes for family members Friday and greeting his company commander and 15 members of his unit on Saturday.

His sister Amanda O’Neill noted that from his expression, it was evident he had enjoyed the visit and was even able to say small words. She added he was awake most of the day and wanted to be up and out of bed, able to wave a simple bye and recognized everyone who has been there to visit.  The visitors have included all of his immediate family as well as his Army family.

“His first words were ‘ice please.’  I guess he was thirsty,” Amanda said.  “His prognosis is good and he is making improvements.  It is still too early to know what permanent damage or if any permanent damage has been caused.  Please keep the prayers coming, they are working miracles.”

Cargill has been moved from the intensive care unit to his own room.  

“I want to say thank you so much from my family and me to everyone who has sent kind thoughts, donated and prayed for my brother,” his sister said.

The community has donated some $11,120 to his recovery benefit including $5,000 from Manteca Ford dealer Phil Waterford.

The next step for him may be a transfer to an Army neurological hospital in the Bay Area or possibly in Los Angeles.

Cargill sustained brain injuries and numerous broken bones including his neck in the accident at Woodward Avenue and Airport Way.